Study finds Most People Still Don’t Trust Autonomous Cars

Self-Driving cars are no longer a far-off dream of the future. Before too long, they’ll be as common as automatic transmissions and safety belts. By the end of 2017, Tesla Motors expects its Autopilot system to offer fully-autonomous functionality in all of the company’s vehicles. A number of other veteran automakers have plans to release driverless cars within the next five years.

Because driver error is implicated in roughly 94 percent of car accidents, many safety experts think that self-driving cars could reduce accident rates dramatically. In spite of the statistical evidence to support these claims, a new study conducted by research firm Deloitte has found that many people still don’t believe driverless cars will be safe.

74 percent of American respondents reported that they didn’t think autonomous cars will be safe. China had the lowest rate of safety concerns, with 62 percent of respondents expressing distrust in self-driving cars. South Korea, meanwhile, had the highest level of safety concerns, with 81 percent of respondents saying they didn’t trust self-driving cars.

On a somewhat more encouraging note, 68 percent of respondents in the U.S. said that their opinion could change if self-driving cars are able to establish a proven safety record. This suggests that, given enough time, consumers could at least warm up to the idea of owning a self-driving car.

The fact of the matter is, autonomous cars don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be better at driving than humans. Considering the average human driver is pretty much guaranteed to get into a car accident at some point in their driving career, this seems like a pretty attainable goal for automakers to achieve. Autonomous vehicle technology might still be relatively new, but it’s already much better at anticipating accidents and taking evasive action than human drivers. By the time autonomous cars become the norm, you can bet they’ll be much safer than human drivers in a number of other respects as well.

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